This is a subshrub originally from Malaysia and southeast Asia, known as coleus or painted nettle. It has semi succulent, 4-angled stems which are usually upright, but sometimes trail. The leaf colors include cream, yellow, orange, red, green, and brown in almost limitless shades and combinations, and the leaf shape varies from small and finely divided, to large and whole.
It is a perennial, but often treated as annual and discarded as the foliage fades in fall. The key to successful cultivation is regular pinching to encourage bushing and never allowing the plant to produce its small, inconspicuous flowers.
Size: Height up to 2 ft. (60 cm).
Light: Direct sunlight, except noon in summer.
Temperature: Normal room.
Moisture: Keep thoroughly moist.
Feeding: Use standard liquid fertilizer every two weeks in spring and summer.
Propagation: Sow seed in spring, or take 3 in. (7 cm) tip cuttings in summer to ensure the survival of a particular favorite.
Special needs: In high temperatures increase humidity by placing the pot on a tray of moist pebbles. Hard water splashes on the leaves will cause white marks.